Look down at your stomach. Is there a distinct line of hair extending from the top of your pubes up to or past your belly button? If so—or if you can vaguely picture what we’re talking about—that’s a happy trail.
Like most body hair, it’s more common to find happy trails on guys than gals. The hair itself also tends to be darker, thicker, and generally more abundant on guys. But if you’re a dude and don’t have a happy trail at all, don’t worry about it. It’s a fickle set of follicles. Some people have one, some people don’t.
That said, if you are indeed in possession of a vertical line of hair growing upon your abdomen and would like to know more, well, getting to the bottom of random dude bodily functions is our chosen line of work.
Is a Happy Trail Just Pubic Hair?
Nope. Think of the happy trail and the region from whence it sprouts upward, your pubic hair, as being more like cousins than brothers. The giveaway is in the texture: a happy trail is typically less bristly and curly than the pubes sprouting around your junk. If anything, it looks more like your leg hair.
But we can see why you’d be confused. For guys, it may be unsettling that the fuzz working its way up to your navel isn’t wildly distinct looking from the strands beneath your boxers.
Women’s happy trails (which they may or may not have, given the biological female tendency to grow less abdominal hair than men) thankfully provide us all with a more straightforward example of the difference. Lady hair textures in the pubic versus happy trail regions are usually much more varied.
What Are the Other Differences Between Male and Female Happy Trails?
As is the case with many things in life, the lady happy trail is usually a bit finer and less in-your-face than the typical dude’s. If a woman has a noticeable happy trail at all, the hair may be wispier, lighter, and end around the belly button.
Although, like a guy’s happy trail, it can certainly extend up the center abdomen to the thorax. (By the way, any hair continuing past the thorax has officially left the happy trail. That’s just chest hair).
Happy trails on women can also intensify for a variety of reasons. Gals dealing with hirsutism, a condition caused by atypically high levels of androgens, may have darker, coarser-haired happy trails. But that’s kind of a whole other thing. If you spy a happy trail on your date, do not ask her if she has hirsutism. This is probably just a regular old line of abdominal hair.
If you and your lady are farther into your relationship, keep in mind that pregnancy can also cause changes in the female happy trail. A surge in estrogen affects female body hair growth in a number of ways, including the potential blossoming of thicker, darker abdominal hair. However, hair changes wrought by pregnancy usually disappear after birth or within six months.
I Can’t Find My Happy Trail in This Forest
If you have a lot of stomach hair, your happy trail is there; it’s just more like a hidden trail, camouflaged by all your other body hair. If you really hate that your happy trail doesn’t stand out, you can try waxing your abdominal hair into a shape that accentuates the trail part. We recommend you consult a professional if you go this route.
You can also reach for your beard trimmer. Tip: don’t trim the surrounding stomach hair all the way down to stubble, and try to keep a soft line at the edges of your happy trail, so your manscaping looks natural.
Also, if your happy trail is more like a happy patch, that still counts as a trail. Trails can totally be triangle-shaped.
Are Happy Trails Sexy?
Like most aspects of human sexuality, the relative beauty of a happy trail is in the eye of the beholder. We hear some ladies have gotten guff when their happy trails appear with the rest of their bodies on social media, which is fairly lame.
But it goes both ways. DUDE HQ has gleaned that women find a happy trail sexiest when it sits upon a trim abdomen. Or, let’s be honest, a rock-hard abdomen. It’s that thing where your shirt accidentally comes up a bit when you’re taking off your sweater, briefly revealing the happy trail and the top of your boxers/briefs.
What the hell are we talking about, you ask? Yeah, we were just as surprised as you are that the male happy trail sneak peak is apparently a sexy visual trope that has made its way into the discourse, but here we are.
Conclusion: if you want to accentuate your happy trail nicely, don’t bother with the beard trimmer and start doing sit-ups.
But Why Is It Called a Happy Trail?
Do we really have to spell it out? Because a happy trail leads you to the fun stuff. Duh. Some folks even call it a “treasure trail,” to which we say, please calm down.
But let’s say you’re in bed, comparing happy trails with your girl, and you want to impress your lady with some trivia regarding this wildly specific patch of body hair. Now’s a great time to bring up Roy Rogers (yes, the singing cowboy from 1950s television).
Rogers, who was quite famous in his time, used to sign his autographs with “happy trails,” a sort of down-home way of offering his fans his best wishes. Somehow, Rogers’s popularization of the term is connected to the happy trail nomenclature we’re more familiar with today. Random, sure, but logical.
If you’ve made it to happy trail territory, why wouldn’t you be hoping for the best?